IATA travel agents unhappy with AI pilots strike

Our Bureau Kochi | Updated on April 29, 2011 Published on April 29, 2011

The pilot strike in Air India has received sharp criticism from travel agents with the IATA Agents Association of India, who say that the strike had put the air passengers at the brink of a disaster.

Terming the strike as an unwarranted act, the association held that the lingering excuses by the airline during peak seasons were paving the way for foreign carriers to cash in and flourish. It also called on authorities to intervene and cease the practice as early as possible.

Cancellations of both domestic and international flight services by the Indian carriers during peak seasons and the dependency on foreign flights have put the travelling passengers in utter disaster'', Mr P. B. Boss, President, IAAI Kerala State Committee said in a statement.

The agency also expressed concern over the shoot-up in ticket fares by both foreign and Indian carriers under the guise of increased fuel costs and asserted that the rise in fares were exorbitant when compared to fuel prices. There has been an unbelievable increase of 50 per cent in domestic flight rates and 30 per cent in international flight rates', he said.

According to the association, arbitrariness, with regard to variations in cost or surcharges was needed to be exercised with due consideration of the rights and privileges of the consumers and ought to be subject to approval by Government authority.

Meanwhile, the ongoing strike by a section of pilots of the erstwhile Indian Airlines which entered its third day on Friday partially affected the Air India's domestic operations out of the three airports in Kerala. According to the airline company, at least 36 flights, both domestic and international, have been cancelled from these stations so far since the strike began at midnight on Tuesday.

The services cancelled from the Kochi airport on Friday were AI 509 and 519 to Bangalore and Chennai; AI 465 to Thiruvananthapuram; AI 682 to Mumbai and AI 933 to Sharjah. In Kozhikode, while it cancelled two international flights — one each to Dubai and the other two Sharjah — the passengers were accommodated in the Air India Express flight to the same destinations. In the domestic sector, it cancelled the Kozhikode-Delhi flight and refunded tickets to 80 per cent of its passengers.

During the day, the airline also operated a special flight each in the routes of Kochi-Kozhikode-Sharjah and the Kozhikode-Dubai to clear the backlogs in the Gulf sector.

The Thiruvananthapuram-Sharjah service and the services to Delhi and Mumbai were among those cancelled in Thiruvananthapuram. After a six-hour delay, it operated the Thiruvananthapuram- Mali service and combined the two flights to Chennai into one.

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Published on April 29, 2011
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